An infinite mobile garden. Sound impossible? That's what Mitnick Roddier Hicks managed to design for the 2007 International Garden Festival in Chaumont, France. The design, titled Etant Donne, is comprised of mirrors and openings that give views into a seemingly endless gardenscape.
Etant Donne is actually mobile, too, able to be moved and set up easily on any reasonably flat land. MRH on their work: A garden to go! That is, two historical conceptions landscape- packaged, unfurled, and made mobile. A transportable horizon produced by two opposing mirrors to form an endless allée of trees, a mise-en-abîme, sitting along a narrow and dense strip of greenery arranged to produce a new landscape among a purposely bare, placeless and indeterminate terrain, the sort to which we are becoming ever-more accustomed. Roll it out upon a parking lot, a rooftop, or any available piece of space. It is homeless, yet playful, and takes pleasure in the joining together of disparate elements and conflicting sensibilities. The project embodies two opposing attitudes towards the arrangement of garden space: the formal geometry of the infinite allée and the loosely arranged, and very tactile, plantings of the stroll garden through which one passes before viewing the immaterial and limitless garden that exists between the reflective walls. Nature is constructed though multiple frames, images and reflections collaged together to produce a new form of contemplative garden experience. It is both abstract and sensuous, and questions the status of landscape and embodied experience relative to the changing nature of the world. It is neither geometric, picturesque, mannered nor wild yet alludes to each of these long-standing sensibilities by running them into and across one another to produce a perceptually dynamic and conceptually complex experience.